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Tuesday, January 6, 2015
What does Fatherhood mean to You?
Needless to say, this is NOT how our female counterparts operate. Excuse me for generalizing. I know there are exceptions to the rule but if your wife is like my wife she's always on her toes. She's sharp. She's a great planner and motherhood seemed to come naturally to her. Dare I say... she's graceful in her own special way? I count my blessings every day but honestly it was intimidating at first how she had never been a mother but when we came home from the hospital and they informed us that a doctor was not staying at our house and we were now permanent full time baby sitters, she still somehow knew what to do. Turns out, she was just flying by the seat of her pants and doing a great job of disguising it. I was too but my disguise was much less convincing. As a father who has to go back to work, and especially for a father whose wife is a stay at home mom, it's easy to take a back seat and a less involved role in the home but its something altogether amazing to fight that tendency and dive in head first.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've found it healthy and unbelievably rewarding to really challenge myself and get outside of my comfort zone and do things as a parent that I didn't particularly think I'd like to do. Crazy, right? Make bath time your responsibility. Sure, we'd all like to come home after a long day at work and prop our feet up and watch some mindless television show instead of bathing a 3 year old but try using it as an opportunity to talk to your child about his day. Close the shower curtain and let him splash and have fun. No one likes changing diapers but put your nose in there (not literally) and change every diaper you can when you come home from work and give your wife a break from it on the weekends. After a certain amount of time you'll find out that it's really not all that bad and its actually a good bonding experience between you and your child where you can develop inside jokes that make your child laugh and in turn, strengthen your relationship. Plus, you'll get major brownie points from your wife which will definitely... no, probably... okay, I can't lie. Honestly, there is a very slim chance that these actions will strengthen your sex life but it's worth a shot and that's not the motivation behind this anyway so don't get discouraged. Keep an open mind and you can find little things like this outside of your everyday routine that provide the opportunity for you to invest more time into your children. It's amazing how many opportunities there are. You just have to look for them. It's also amazing how you'll feel when you come out on the other side after having taken one of these opportunities.
I'm no professional. I've only been on this parenting gig for just under 4 years. I didn't go to college for it or pass a test to get a parenting license but somehow I lucked into this dream job and somehow I came to the realization that the only thing that makes this job seem easy is hard work and overtime. Ironically these are the exact same things that make my career seem more difficult, but it's true. I make mistakes all the time and continue my trial and error but there is one thing I'm sure of. If someone asks me, "What does fatherhood mean to you?" I will reply, "Time and effort and love and gratitude and more time and more effort and more love and more gratitude." I will mean that and I will live it. I have no choice at this point. I used to think these boys locked my nothing box and lost the key in a toy box somewhere along with that old bluetooth that disappeared a few years back, but then I realized I was wrong. They found the key, unlocked the box and took up a permanent residence along with their toys and tears and smiles and laughter and poop. We're still working on getting the poop out of there. Like I said, it takes time...and trial... and error too, unfortunately. The important thing is that the effort is there.